A pair of all-Hampton Roads semifinals in Class 5 will highlight Monday’s competition across the state in VHSL tennis semifinals.
The teams are trying to book tickets to the championship matches Thursday. In Classes 6, 5 and 4, they will be at Huntington Park in Newport News; in Classes 3, 2 and 1, they will be at Virginia Tech’s Burrows/Burleson Tennis Center.
Cox’s boys will come to Old Dominion’s Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center for an intriguing match against Maury. The Falcons are led by Neil Vanga and James Lonergan at the top two spots. They defeated Beach rivals Tallwood and First Colonial by 5-0 scores before beating Hickory 5-2 in a competitive Region A final. Then they zoomed past Granby 5-0 in a state quarterfinal.
Maury took the Region B title with relative ease, then won a 5-4 state quarterfinal against Hickory that came down to a match tiebreak victory at No. 2 doubles by Manolo Angeles and Johnny March.
Patrick Stiles and John Felts combined to go 3-0 at the top of the lineup for the Commodores against Hickory.
The winner on ODU’s courts will be an underdog in the championship match against the victor in the Richmond-area clash pitting Mills Godwin at Deep Run.
Cox was the Class 6 runner-up in 2018 and ’19, albeit with more seasoned players. The Commodores would scale new heights by reaching the final.
On the girls side, the Beach District is guaranteed a team in the state final.
Princess Anne has shown plenty of consistency and depth all year to earn a chance to reach its first state title match. The Cavaliers will be at home against Cox at 1 p.m. and have handled the Falcons twice this season, including a 5-1 victory last week for the Region A championship.
Despite lacking a superstar prospect, PA boasted all of its region’s individual finalists. The Cavaliers’ No. 1 player, Ashton Dillman, beat No. 2 player Nielsen Baxley for the singles title. Those two won the doubles title over Sophia Koch and Rino Sato, who usually play on singles lines 5 and 6, respectively. Ysabel Wells and Laine Kwong have been formidable on lines 3 and 4 and at No. 2 doubles.
Cox has superior history, having won four state team titles this century — the last in 2016.
Grafton’s boys and Jamestown’s girls will hit the road.
The Clippers, seeking their first final appearance, will rely on three-time Region A singles champion Rainer Christiansen and John Cloud, who has joined him for the last two region doubles titles. Grafton edged state quarterfinal opponent Eastern View in a 5-4 thriller to extend its season.
At 1 p.m., the Clippers will face a strong Hanover team that shut out Jamestown 5-0 last week. The Hawks have placed second in three of the last four state tournaments, including last season’s.
The Jamestown girls won their eighth state team championship in 2021 before being outclassed in last year’s final by a loaded Western Albemarle team that had just dropped from Class 3.
Still sparked by Julia Clark and Lauren Elliott, the focal points of that championship run two years ago, the Eagles are headed to Fredericksburg to face Courtland at 3 p.m., and it’s a good sign for them that they defeated Great Bridge more easily than Courtland did the very next day.
Class 3: Headed by Region A singles champ Nicolas Crespo, Tabb’s boys will go to Battery Park in Richmond for a 1 p.m. match as they hope to end Maggie Walker’s recent dominance.
In the previous nine state tournaments, the Dragons made seven finals and won six, including last year’s. Tabb last made a state team final in 1991.
Bruton’s boys, last year’s state runners-up, have high hopes as they bus to Staunton to face Riverheads. Region singles champ Simpiwhe Matabini heads a Panthers team with balance and consistency.
Poquoson’s girls are making their third consecutive semifinal appearance and are pursuing their second victory in that span. They’ll be in Woodstock to face the Central Falcons.
Monday’s VHSL tennis semifinal schedule
Cox vs. Maury (at Old Dominion), 10 a.m.
Mills Godwin at Deep Run, 3 p.m.
Grafton at Hanover, 1 p.m.
Broad Run at Western Albemarle, 3 p.m.
Tabb vs. Maggie Walker (at Battery Park in Richmond), 1 p.m.
Liberty Christian at Monticello, 1 p.m.
Bruton vs. Riverheads (at Mary Baldwin), 1 p.m.
Floyd County at Glenvar, 11 a.m.
Freedom of South Riding at Battlefield, 3:30 p.m.
James Madison at Langley, 3 p.m.
Cox at Princess Anne, 1 p.m.
Douglas Freeman at Riverside, 1:30 p.m.
Jamestown at Courtland, 3 p.m.
Sherando at Handley, 1 p.m.
James Monroe vs. Maggie Walker (at Battery Park in Richmond), 10 a.m.
Spotswood vs. Abingdon (at Emory & Henry), 11 a.m.
Poquoson vs. Central (at W.O. Riley Park in Woodstock), 2 p.m.
Radford at Marion, 11 a.m.
Rappahannock at Buffalo Gap
George Wythe of Wytheville at Lebanon, 10 a.m.